Decatur installing new parking meters

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 25, 2014

This story has been updated. 

The city of Decatur is covering up old parking meters and putting in solar-powered replacements.

During the June 16 Decatur City Commission meeting, City Manager Peggy Merriss said the meters will be installed between June 23 and June 26. The new meters were visible along Sycamore Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Old meter.

Old meter.

New meter.

New meter.

During the meeting, Merriss hedged a bit on the idea that there will be Saturday parking enforcement, which is something that the city allows but hasn’t done because there wasn’t enough staff to do the job. The new meters are supposed to pay for another parking enforcement officer.

When Mayor Jim Baskett asked if the city would move to Saturday collection, Merriss said, “We might.”

Merriss said that the city won’t begin seriously cracking down on parking violators until the public becomes more familiar with the new machines.

“There will be plenty of warning,” Merriss said. “Our preference is to do a lot of education before we do enforcement.”

City spokesperson Casie Yoder said the parking enforcement hours will remain the same: a two-hour limit from 8 am to 6 pm and free after 6 pm.

Unlike the old meters, the new meters monitor parking in multiple spaces simultaneously. The new system tracks cars by their license plate number, so you won’t lose time if you move to a different spot. (Pro tip: Take a picture of your license plate with your cell phone for easy reference.)

The meters accept cards and coins. You can also add time using your cell phone.

So what’s going to happen to the old meters?

“The existing meters will be declared surplus and we will sell them if we can,” Merriss said.

Here’s a video showing how the new meters work:

Correction: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect title for Casie Yoder. She is the city’s spokesperson. 

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  • Chris Billingsley

    I saw the sign while trying to park in an empty space near Shields Market but I was directed towards some hidden pay meter which makes me think that this will be a HUGE money maker for the city. I fear that many will think “Way too complicated” (and park without paying) or that this smart technology, which allows you to use your cell phone, will fail and ultimately result in more revenue for the city.
    What did I do? I left and drove somewhere else to buy lottery tickets. But hey, more revenue means lower taxes right?

  • jim

    Same enforcement hours? I didn’t notice enforcement hours when I walked by one of these yesterday.

    • Steve Vogel

      According to CoD sources on decaturmetro, same hours, they just haven’t been posted on the meters yet.

  • MeNoLike

    I especially like how you enter your license plate number when you park! That’s information that could never be misused at any point in the future.
    Also, saw 3 people waiting in line to pay at one of these things yesterday. Never got to do that with the old-style parking meters! Get to know your neighbors while waiting to pay in the rain. Thought street parking was paid because it was convenient.

  • judgebrandies

    Why does the city want to keep track of when and where I park? Who is going to have access to that information? At best this way of paying for parking was poorly conceived.

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